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Grove & Rufford
Sunday 3rd April2011
by Emma Forman

A large crowd turned up to enjoy the Grove & Rufford Point-to-Point in the picturesque setting of Welbeck on Sunday.

Annie Lee brought the twelve year old Lucky Nellerie from the Cotswolds to win the feature race; the AGA Ladies Open. This former winning chaser, who is best suited to soft going, set a strong pace from flag fall. Freya Brewer and Eliza Doalott made up ground approaching the second last but were unable to get on terms with Lucky Nellerie and rider Rilly Goschen. The race was run in a thunder storm but that didn't dampen the spirits of Annie Lee, "We only ran here today to qualify for the AGA final Hunter Chase at Cheltenham on 4th May so I am delighted. I am hoping it will rain a lot in May!" she said. The third horse Paradise Bay and Chloe Kirkby started off by winning the best turned out prize and made a pleasing seasonal debut following a training setback.

The Hutchinson family continued their run of good fortune when the former Sue Smith trained Pass The Class won the Avocet Hardware Confined Hunts race; a fifth win of the season for the stable. Media Man and Ryan Winks tried to make all but were passed by Pass The Class after the fourth fence from home. "This is my fourth win so I'm no longer a novice" said a delighted Sam Hutchinson the winning rider.

Another rider who will not be eligible for novice races for much longer is Lizzie Harris who won the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members race for novice riders. Lizzie was riding Teeton Dazzler for Joan Tice who also had Teeton Prince a full brother in the race and he finished third for Georgina Garley. "My horses are in form and I am over the moon" said Mrs Tice after the race. Charles Clark brought the second horse Portavadie with a well- timed run but could only get within a length of Teeton Dazzler. This race was a qualifier for the £1000 Dodson & Horrell PPORA Club Members Race for Novice Riders Series Final at Tabley on Sunday 15th May.

Coppingers Court only had to canter past the crowd in a walkover to take the Shire Developments Intermediate race. This qualifies him for the Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate Point to Point Championship Final Hunter Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday 4th May.

Racing began with the Clarke Associates four, five, six and seven year olds Open Maiden race and an easy win for Ambasador in the colours of Robert Clifton -Brown. This six year old Barathea gelding who was ridden by Jody Sole was bought privately in Ireland for just £850 and is trained near Bury St Edmunds by Andrew Pennock. The delighted winning owner Robert Clifton –Brown said that he would like to run at the West Norfolk Point- to- Point at Fakenham next.

Ambasador had previously finished fourth at Cottenham behind Always Roses and that form looks good as the four year old filly Always Roses followed up in the Taninges Properties Restricted race. Rider George Henderson, who tore his liver in a fall from Always Roses earlier in the season, was happy to track the leaders before getting into the race three fences from home. "I think she will make a nice Ladies Open horse in time" said Henderson after dismounting. The Henderson family have pencilled in the South Notts Point- to- Point at Thorpe on Easter Monday for Always Roses' next outing.

The final race of the day the T. Frost Open Maiden race saw South Notts farmer Roger Jackson saddle a winner when Propriano Du Bourg survived a slip on the bend into the straight to win by fifteen lengths. The grey eight year old gelding who loved the fast ground was ridden by Hugh McKenna who works for trainer Chris Bealby.

The next Point- to- Point in the Midlands Area is the Pytchley at Guilsborough on Sunday 10th April, first race 1.30pm.

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